12/15/2006 12:00AM

Will He Shine makes belated stakes debut


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Trainer Dale Romans hopes to replace the void in his barn left by retired sprinter Sharp Humor with Will He Shine, who makes his stakes debut in Sunday's Grade 3, $100,000 Gravesend Handicap at Aqueduct.

Will He Shine will go up against a solid group of sprinters in the six-furlong Gravesend, including graded stakes winners Bishop Court Hill, Judiths Wild Rush, and Santana Strings. Sunday's card will be the last day of racing at Aqueduct until Dec. 27.

Will He Shine has made only six starts, but has been in the barn of four trainers. He began his career with Elliott Walden, went to Todd Pletcher and then Richard Dutrow Jr. before winding up with Romans. The horse has gone 2 for 3 with Romans, including third-level allowance win over Aqueduct's main track Oct. 27.

Romans was pointing Will He Shine to the Fall Highweight Handicap on Thanksgiving, but the horse developed a quarter crack and missed some time. Romans looks at that as a potential blessing given the fact Will He Shine earned lifetime best speed figures in his previous start and may have bounced had he run in the Fall Highweight.

"The extra time off a top number should help," Romans said. "The horse is doing super. He obviously has come around. I expect him to run big."

Though Will He Shine led gate to wire last time, Romans noted the horse had the rail that day and he instructed Kent Desormeaux to send him. Will He Shine rated winning a second-level allowance two starts back at Belmont. Ramon Dominguez rides from post 4.

There is certainly plenty of speed in this field, with Bishop Court Hill, Lucky Gamble, and Spooky Mulder entered.

If ever a horse deserved to win a stakes race, it's Spooky Mulder. The hard-hitting 8-year-old gelding has won 28 of 70 lifetime starts, but is 0 for 15 in stakes. He won an optional claiming race here on Nov. 19 when it appeared that he was beaten in midstretch, but surged again between horses to get the victory.

Owner Bruce Golden and trainer Scott Lake claimed Spooky Mulder out of that race for a $75,000. Lake is currently serving a suspension, and the horse will be saddled by Steven Krebs.

Santana Strings, a Grade 2 winner, has not raced since finishing sixth in the Count Fleet Handicap at Oaklawn in April. He along with Judiths Wild Rush, a Sovereign Award finalist in two categories, should benefit from a lively pace.